A comparative analysis on making polite apologies in english and vietnamese from the cross cultural perspective

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This paper  investigates how similarly and differently native speakers of English
and Vietnamese use  apologies politely  in  terms of  cross-cultural  perspective  in
the light of 3 apology strategies including: getting attention, rejecting a request or
an  invitation  and  admitting  guilt  with  an  explanation  basing  on  the  previous
study of Mrs. Huynh Cam Thao Trang (2009) as a  foundation  for  research. The
data  are  collected  by  books,  questionnaire  and  interview.  The  questionnaire  is
obtained with 20 Vietnamese participants and 20 English participants  including
American, Australian, Canadian and English. The  interview  is also delivered  to
20  English  participants  and  20  Vietnamese  participants.  The  participants  for
questionnaire  and  interview  are  different.  Their  responses  then  are  analyzed
separately to identify the types of apology structure and to measure the degree of
frequency in giving apologies. The study is of a descriptive nature. Frequencies,
percentages  and  the  means  of  these  percentages  are  considered.  The  prime
findings  of  the  study  reveal  that  Vietnamese  and  English  native  speakers  are
nearly similar in the choice of apology forms appropriate in admitting guilt with
an  explanation  and  different  in  the  degree  of  using  apologizing  words.  The
Vietnamese native speakers  less give apologies  than native speakers of English.
It  seems  that  the  English  native  speakers  give  apologies  more  politely  than
Vietnamese people but in Vietnamese culture  instead of using apologizing word
Vietnamese people have different ways of speaking to show the politeness.

CHAPTER 1     INTRODUCTION
1. Motivation of the study
Commonly  language  is  an  important  part  of  culture,  and  a  culture  is  reflected
through  its  language. A piece of  culture  can  be  referred  to, but  it  is differently
interpreted.    In    the  broadest    sense,    language    is  also    the    symbolic  
representation  of  a person,  since  it comprises  his/her  historical  and  cultural  
background,  as  well  as  his/her approach  to  life  and  his/her  ways  of  living  
and  thinking.  Brown  (1994: 165) describes  that  “a  language  is  a  part  of  a  
culture    and    a  culture    is  a  part    of    a    language;    the    two    are    intricately  
interwoven    so   that  one    cannot    separate    the    two    without    losing    the  
significance  of either language  or  culture”.  In a word, culture and language are
inseparated, so foreign language learning is foreign culture learning. As a result,
nowadays learning a foreign language does not only learn syntactic structures or
learn  new  vocabulary  and  expressions  but  also  incorporate  some  cultural
elements  intertwined  with  language  itself.  As  Vietnam  is  integrating  many
countries around the world, learning English is getting more and more important
and  essential.  English  has  been  used  as  an  international  language  all  over  the
world  and  as  a means  of  communication with  different  purposes. However,  to
succeed  in  communication  is  not  easy  since  every  society  has  its  own  socio-
cultural and communicative behaviors. The difficulty  is  that understanding how
to communicate effectively with individuals who speak another language or who
rely on different means to reach communicative goal. It is, therefore, perhaps the
most  important  for  people  to  realize  that  a  basic  understanding  of  cultural
diversity is the key to effective cross-cultural communications.  
In  daily  life,  people  take  plenty  of  actions  to  communicate  with  others,  for
example,  thanks,  apologies,  greetings,  invitations,  compliments,  requests  or
complaints which can be done both verbally and non-verbally. There have been
many  conflicts  of  the world  are  caused  as  result  of  the  lack  of  cross  –culture
knowledge. Take speech acts of apology as an example. An apology is one of the
cultural features  that people who  learn English need  to pay attention  to.  It  is anexpressive  speech act which  is not only a normal utterance but also an  issue of great  concern. 
For  the  above  reasons,  finding  the  similarities  and  differences  in  English  and
Vietnamese  in  apologies  is  a  must.  The  finding  hopefully  helps  Vietnamese
teachers and learners keep the conversation with foreigners going on. To achieve
it, the thesis is attempted to answer tree research questions:
1. How do  the Vietnamese native  speakers and  the English native  speakers  say
apologies?  
2. What are  the  similarities and differences  in making polite apologies between
the Vietnamese native speakers and the English native speakers?
3. Do ages, social positions and relationships influence making polite apologies?
2. Aims of the study
The  aims of  this  study  are  to  compare how  similarly  and differently  the native
speakers  of  English  and  Vietnamese  use  apologies  in  terms  of  cross-cultural
features  based  on  comparing  the  structures  and  strategies  of  apologies.
 

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There are many difference between Vietnamese and English culture
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